Infection prevention // Hospitals reduced Clostridium difficile infections by 10 percent and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections by 8 percent between 2011 and 2013, according to the latest annual report on health care-associated infections, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Among other improvements, hospitals also reduced central line-associated blood stream infections and surgical-site infections by 46 percent and 19 percent, respectively, between 2008 and 2013. “Hospitals have made real progress to reduce some types of health care-associated infections — it can be done,” says CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D.
Biomedical // New and revised elements of performance for accredited hospitals, critical access hospitals, and ambulatory health care organizations that provide diagnostic imaging services (including ambulatory care organizations that have achieved Advanced Diagnostic Imaging accreditation) have been finalized and will go into effect July 1. This set of standards previously was announced in January 2014 and would have gone into effect in July 2014. However, the Joint Commission determined that further research and additional revisions were needed. The new and revised standards incorporate recommendations from imaging experts, professional associations and accredited organizations about areas that must be evaluated to ensure the safe delivery of diagnostic imaging services.
Emergency response // The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued guidance to help hospitals and other emergency care settings estimate and have on hand the minimum recommended amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) for Ebola preparedness based on the agency’s three-tiered approach to hospital preparedness for patients with possible or confirmed Ebola Virus Disease. According to the guidance, frontline facilities may wish to have enough Ebola PPE for 12–24 hours of care, while Ebola assessment hospitals should have enough for at least four to five days of patient care and Ebola treatment centers should have enough for at least seven days of patient care. The CDC recommends that facilities determine a phased approach to increasing PPE preparedness in coordination with state and local public health officials.
Engineering // As more health care delivery organizations (HDOs) lower the relative humidity levels in operating rooms, concerns have arisen about the impact on sterile supplies and electro-medical equipment. A multisociety communication, organized by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), aims to help HDOs understand the issue and determine whether a lower humidity level is appropriate for their facilities. Released in conjunction with the American Hospital Association, the American Society for Healthcare Engineering, the Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management and others, the statement provides background on the issue and presents a list of questions and key points HDOs should consider when establishing or adjusting relative humidity levels to below 30 percent. The statement was developed in the wake of a multiorganization meeting at AAMI headquarters.